Anemonastrum tenuicaule


Anemonastrum: The meaning of the genus was not clearly specified by the naming author Josef Holub 1930-1999 (Holub 1973). The root is derived from 'Anemone" - from the Greek ánemos 'wind'. However, 'astrum' has multiple meanings. In one case it could mean 'a star' (Latin 'astrum' (from Ancient Greek 'astron', a more poetic variant of 'aster')) hence 'star anemone'. In another meaning 'astrum' could refer to the close resemblance of the genus to Anemone or that it is a 'little Anemone'. In this regard 'astrum' is a noun-suffix (genitive -astri) in the second declension, expressing an incomplete resemblance to, some likeness to, an inferiority, or even usage in a diminutive sense. Probably the second explanation is preferable, because Holub (1973: 158) commented "Therefore a new name, Anemonastrum is proposed here for the genus under consideration, which is very closely related from the etymological point of view to Anemone" Opinion from: Prof. Sergei L. Mosyakin
tenuicaule: thin-stemmed

Common Name(s)

New Zealand anemone

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
2004 - Sparse


2012 - Sp


Anemonastrum tenuicaule (Cheeseman) de Lange et Mosyakin



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Herbs other than Composites


Ranunculus tenuicaulis Cheeseman; Anemone tenuicaulis (Cheeseman) Parkin et Sledge; Anemonidium tenuicaule (Cheeseman) Christenh. et Byng


Endemic. New Zealand, North and South Islands from the Tararua ranges south.


Upper montane to subalpine habitats (c.900-1300 m a.s.l.) where it grows in herbfield and short to tall tussock grassland. usually in damp sites, flushes or seepages.


Perennial, rhizomatous herb (50-)150-500 mm tall. Rhizomes erect or creeping. Basal Petioles 20-150 mm long somewhat channeled, glabrescent, sparsely covered with appressed bristle-like hairs. Leaves 1-4(-6), 10-30 x 10-20 mm, 3-foliolate light green above, paler beneath, somewhat fleshy, leaflets cut to about half of length, into 3 entire or trifid segments, these sessile or shortly petiolate, sparsely bristly hairy above, cuneate at base, apex acute; subfloral leaves trifid, cuneate. Flowers solitary, nodding, 10-150 mm diameter. Peduncle 10-100-150 mm long, sparsely covered in appressed bristly hairs. Perianth segments 5-7, pink to red-brown, glabrous (upper surface minutely papillate). Achenes borne in erect heads, glabrous.

Similar Taxa



November - January

Flower Colours

Brown,Red / Pink


December - May

Propagation Technique

Difficult. Should not be removed from the wild.


Anemonastrum tenuicaule is a biologically sparse species. In the northern part of its range it is extremely uncommon. However from about North Otago south it is more common, and in places it is can be locally abundant. Within its range it is mostly secure, occurring on public conservation land. It is possible that some lowland populations are threatened by competition from weeds.

Chromosome No.

2n = 28

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Hooked achenes are dispersed by attaching to fur, feathers and clothing (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Fact Sheet Citation

Please cite as:  de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of Access): Anemonastrum tenuicaule Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.aspx?ID=220 (Date website was queried)


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 12 February 2004. Description adapted from Allan (1961) and Webb et al. (1988). See also Mosyakin & de Lange (2018).

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I, Wellington, Government Printer.

Holub, J. 1973: New names in Phanerogamae 2. Folia Geobotanica & Phytotaxonomica (Praha)
8(2): 155–179

Mosyakin, S.L.; de Lange, P.J. 2018: Anemonastrum tenuicaule and A. antucense (Ranunculaceae), new combinations for a New Zealand endemic species and its South American relative. PhytoKeys 99: 107-124.

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11(4): 285-309

Webb CJ, Sykes WR, Garnock-Jones PJ 1988. Flora of New Zealand. Vol. IV. Botany Division, DSIR, Christchurch.

This page last updated on 8 Jun 2018